Lance Armstrong says his Tour de France is “finished”

Radioshack rider Lance Armstrong (L) of the U.S cycles with team-mates during a training session during a rest day of the Tour de France cycling race in Morzine July 12, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (France - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)

An unlucky Stage 8 led to a resigned quote from Lance Armstrong:

Close the book on the Lance Armstrong era at the Tour de France. He has.

The record seven-time champion wrote off his chances of victory in his 13th and last Tour, signaling the beginning of the end of one of the most celebrated and controversial careers in cycling history.

The 38-year-old Texan’s hopes for yet another title were dashed Sunday after he got caught in three crashes — one of which brought him down — and struggled to keep up during two tough climbs in Stage 8, the race’s first foray into the Alps. He and his team said his hip got banged up, keeping him from pedaling hard.

“My Tour is finished,” said Armstrong, who fell to 39th overall.

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Tiger Woods named AP Athlete of the Decade

Even though his personal life has, uh, taken a hit recently, Tiger Woods was named AP Athlete of the Decade on Wednesday.

From the Huffington Post:

He won 64 times around the world, including 12 majors, and hoisted a trophy on every continent golf is played. He lost only one time with the lead going into the final round. His 56 PGA Tour victories in one incomparable decade were more than anyone except four of golf’s greatest players won in their careers.

Woods received 56 of the 142 votes cast by AP member editors since last month. More than half of the ballots were returned after the Nov. 27 car accident outside his Florida home that set off sensational tales of infidelity.

Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor who won the Tour de France six times this decade, finished second with 33 votes. He was followed by Roger Federer, who won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other man, with 25 votes.

Not that anyone needed a reminder, but this just goes to show you how dominate Woods has been over the past decade. Sex scandal be damned, Tiger has done legendary things in the world of golf over the past 10 years and it’s nice to see that he got recognition for what he’s done on the course.

It’s also good to see that the media can separate a player’s personal life from his career. In a perfect world, athletes would be role models for our children because they’re always in the public eye. But we don’t live in a perfect world and therefore, the media has to be able to separate what the player does on the field from what he does off it.

That said, how embarrassing for Woods. He receives this great honor, but he can’t even fully enjoy the moment because he’s in a hell of his own making. Every time he looks back on this award, he’ll immediately be reminded of his sex scandal. What a shame.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Tour de France: Armstrong in second, teammate in first

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It seems like those Lance Armstrong commercials for Nike are no joke. Dude is a competitor. This is Armstrong’s first Tour de France since his comeback and, at age 37, the young man still has it. Armstrong has since moved up to second place after completing the race’s 15th stage. Only problem is, his teammate Alberto Contador is 1 minute and 37 seconds ahead.

The Spaniard dominated the first stage in the Alps to take the overall lead on Sunday — his first chance to wear the yellow jersey since winning the 2007 Tour de France. Armstrong, who started the 15th stage in fourth, moved up to second overall but is 1 minute, 37 seconds behind his teammate and rival.

“The differences now are pretty big, and the team’s bet should now be me, no?” he said. “I’m sure my teammates are going to put in great work to back me up just like they did today.”

“I think when Alberto went, he showed he’s the best rider in the race, certainly the best climber. … Hats off to him,” Armstrong said.

The American vowed that he would not go against team orders and attack Contador later in the race.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “There’s been a lot of drama between Alberto and me … but at the end of the day we sit as a team.”

The 26-year-old Spaniard broke away from other pre-race favorites with 3.5 miles left in the 128.9-mile ride from Pontarlier, France, to the Swiss ski resort of Verbier — and he kept extending his lead to the end to finish in 5 hours, 3 minutes, 58 seconds.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t completely understand how the Tour de France works. Apparently, you ride for a sponsor who puts together an entire team. This character Alberto Contador is on the same team as Lance Armstrong. The cycling legend is showing true sportsmanship in promising not to try and pass Contador. However, Contador rubs me the wrong way, at least judging by his quotes. For the sake of comedy, I’d love Armstrong to throw something in his spokes and dash ahead during the last leg of the race. For the sake of comedy, of course. For the sake of sports, I guess that’d be bad.

Lance Armstrong doing well in Tour de France

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Since returning from retirement, Lance Armstrong hasn’t been able to reach the level of dominance he displayed during his entire career. That’s expected, obviously, but he’s currently showing signs of his past ability at this favorite race, the Tour de France. Earlier today, Armstrong jumped from 10th to third place.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish won his second straight stage. He and Armstrong and overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland kept up with a breakaway group that bolted from the pack with 18 miles left in the 122-mile third stage.

Armstrong, a seven-time champion coming out of retirement, is 40 seconds behind. He was able to make his big jump because riders in front of him at the start of the day got trapped in the main pack.

The race is set for a shakeout featuring Cancellara, Armstrong and Germany’s Tony Martin in Tuesday’s team time trial. Each team is strong in the 24-mile event, which starts and finishes in Montpellier. If Astana wins, Armstrong could take the yellow jersey. The race ends July 26 in Paris.

Like Roger Federer, Lance Armstrong is an institution in his sport. It’s nice to watch the “old guys” succeed, though neither is old in general by any means. As far as spectator sports are concerned in America, cycling is about as popular rugby. Nevertheless, Armstrong’s story is both interesting an inspiring. The fact that he’s won 7 times is proof enough that he’s both a phenomenal athlete and the greatest cyclist of all time. That he’s come back is a product of his determination and frustration with the minutia of everyday life. There’s only so much one can do before they need to partake in the things they love.

Lance Armstrong criticizes Wall Street Journal using Twitter and Blog

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A new case of Twitter becoming more powerful than we can possibly imagine (especially for those of you who imagine The Wall Street Journal Board of Directors as possible Sith Lords). Deadspin has the scoop:

Last month, Lance Armstrong boycotted the media, speaking directly to his fans in 140-character chunks. He tried to break the ban by writing a letter to The WSJ, but they “butchered it,” and instead, he printed it on his blog.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story June 10 about an alleged feud between Armstrong and Greg LeMond. Armstrong called the piece “sensational,” and not in the good way. He wrote a letter to the editor. The editor made some edits. Armstrong didn’t like the edits. He said the editor “removed the pertinent and topical parts. Frustrating.” I bet!

It’s interesting that Armstrong was able to post his own rebuttal of a major international newspaper using a form of communication as easily (if not more so) available as a newspaper. Power to the people on this one. It’s important everybody gets checked, and possibly called out, when things get a bit fudged. Of course, if The WSJ merits Lance Armstrong getting involved. My previous post may get me a gang of 200 pound 7th graders out for blood. Yeesh.

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